By Ron Leir
Question: How many times does a traffic light need to change from red to green before a motorist can cross the DeJessa Bridge linking Lyndhurst and Nutley?
Answer: Just how patient can you be before you explode?
Lyndhurst Mayor/Public Safety Director Robert Giangeruso understands the frustration drivers go through every day when they approach the dreaded intersection of Kingsland and Riverside Aves.
As evidence of that concern, Giangeruso pointed to his posting – “for the fi rst time in recent memory” – of traffi c cops at that often-nightmare intersection where the new Rt. 3 bridge project to the north and the closing of the Clay St. Bridge to the south have contributed to congestion.
Another development that, according to Giangeruso, has complicated matters is the timing of the new traffic signal installed by the state Department of Transportation on the northbound side of Rt. 21 across the Passaic River. Just when motorists have managed to clear the light at the Kingsland Ave. intersection, they have to stop before exiting the bridge.
“The combination of projects and the associated traffic rerouting have caused excessive delays at the intersection,” the mayor said.
Police have been enforcing traffic laws – such as “don’t block the box,” the prohibition of left turns off Riverside into the Exxon gas station and prohibition of right turns off Kingsland when the light is red.
Members of the Lyndhurst Police Dept. and Bergen County Police have teamed to handle a traffic detail at the bridge during the evening rush hours, from 4 to 7 p.m., in an effort to expedite vehicular flow.
Lyndhurst has also installed traffic signs and “delineator” posts to help guide vehicles along as best they can, given the forces working against them, Giangeruso said.
With daily traffic flow on Riverside Ave. estimated at 20,000 vehicles and 40,000 vehicles on the bridge, Giangeruso said he’s been pushing for the design and construction of an improved intersection but it has taken Lyndhurst many months to acquire easements from the owners of seven properties bordering the intersection.
As reported by the Meadowlands Mirror website – and echoed by the mayor – plans call for the dedicated turning lanes and adjusting the timing intervals of traffic signals on and off the bridge.
Now that the easements have been nailed down, PSE&G can start the job of relocating utilities and once that work is done, it’s up to Bergen County to handle improvements on its end, Giangeruso said. At that point, the bridge can become a truly “welcoming gateway to our town,” the mayor added.
And, down the road, the mayor said he’s hopeful of making a case for the state to take down the existing span and put up a new multi-lane bridge “that will better serve the residents of Lyndhurst and Southern Bergen.”
In another ongoing traffic situation, Giangeruso said his department has been managing and monitoring the periodic closing of Orient Way to allow for construction of new utilities and access of construction vehicles for the new residential project, Meadows Crossing, being built by Russo Development Co., of Carlstadt, on the site of the former concrete reclamation yard.